17, May 2018
The revelation is as sobering as it is shocking-the beheading of Southern Cameroons women and children by army soldiers deployed to the region by President Paul Biya. Every Southern Cameroonian family has had firsthand experience with violence. The Manyus, Bangwas, Mettas, Balis, Nso, Orokos, Bafaws, Bakweri, Bakossi, Aghen and others are sharing similar insights, shaped in no small part by a bitter dose of realism. There are no prescribed remedies to the imploding situation in Southern Cameroons/Ambazonia. Will thousands more Southern Cameroonians die to show that Biya can no longer rule over La Republique du Cameroun?
Unlike the other East African leaders who are mindful of human suffering and have been working hard to seek an end to the conflict in South Sudan, the regional and international partners involved in Southern Cameroons have proven to be terribly insensitive and they clearly don’t care how their silence is harming ordinary Southern Cameroonians.
We of the Cameroon Concord News Group believe and fervently too that the choice was clear from the very beginning of the Southern Cameroons crisis two years ago: sacrifice Biya to save the so-called one and indivisible Cameroon, or sacrifice the one and indivisible Cameroon to save Biya. The Francophone regime embraced the latter to preserve itself and hundreds of Southern Cameroonians are dying in the process. No regrets, no hesitation. None whatsoever.
When the first French Cameroun military onslaught failed, an Anglophone criminal, Paul Atanga Nji was appointed Minister of Territorial Administration and was ordered to step in to save the Biya regime, and in the current process many more are dying. No worry, no sorry. None.
The Minister Atanga Nji’s effort has already failed, and the Biya regime continues to bleed. The French and the Americans have now stepped in under the same pretext: Only by saving Biya could Boko Haram and terrorism be defeated and the one and indivisible Cameroon saved, contends US Ambassador Peter Barlerin.
So, will thousands more Southern Cameroonians die to show that Biya can no longer rule over La Republique du Cameroun?
Ever since the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres decided to back off from the crisis in Southern Cameroons, the international community has argued, rather poorly, that it was in Cameroon’s best interest not to interfere and that outside involvement was no remedy for the country’s political problems.
But instead of putting the US’ weight behind a political solution through talks with the Interim Government of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia, the US ambassador gave Biya the license to continue killing Southern Cameroonians. The Biya Francophone regime with French government support has transformed the crisis in Southern Cameroons into a renewed so-called war on terror where Buhari of Nigeria and Chad’s Idris Deby are privileged members.
Yaoundé will discover, sooner rather than later, that it can’t succeed in this senseless military campaign. The only achievement in the process is simply that many more will die in vain. Such scenario will prove most costly to French Cameroonians too as the country continues to fall apart. If the Federal Republic of Nigeria continues to play innocent and Europeans and Americans continue to play catch up, Biya’s foul play is sure to pave the way for another bitter and bloody chapter in the history of the two Cameroons.
It’s evidently clear at this point in time that there are no good options for Biya; that the sweetest among all plausible scenarios is bitter and it is that President Biya should step aside.
Indeed, the last two years of turmoil in Southern Cameroons, like the previous 36 years of Biya’s dictatorship, have taught both French and Southern Cameroonians that the bloodier the change, the worse the outcome, and the longer the wait, the more complicated the change.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai